By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Wednesday asked African countries to support a 10-point peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Today, on this day of unity I would like to ask you to support the unity of Ukraine by supporting the peace formula proposed by President Zelensky” Kuleba said in a video message he convoyed today from the African Union headquarters on the occasion of Africa day.
“This is the only way to restore peace in Ukraine and prevent future wars”
Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan addresses issues like global food security, radiation and nuclear safety, energy security and the release of all prisoners and deportees.
It also calls for the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity, a withdrawal of Russian troops and an end to all hostilities.
In his address, Kuleba said that food security is a significant element of president Zelensky’s peace formula, and the one especially important for African nations.
“Even during this dark time of war, Ukraine spares no effort to maintain its role as a food security guarantor for Africa and many other regions of the world” he said.
A day earlier, during a press conference held in Addis Ababa Kuleba also urged African countries to stop staying neutral on the ongoing conflict with Russia instead to take sides.
Kuleba said Ukraine was “very upset that some African countries chose to abstain” and called them to lend Ukraine diplomatic support “in the face of Russian aggression.”
“Neutrality is not the answer,” he told reporters
“By being neutral towards Russian aggression against Ukraine, you project your neutrality onto border violations and mass crimes that may occur very close to you, if not happen to you,” he added.
Kuleba however admitted that his country has paid a price for paying little attention to Africa.
“Ukraine’s relations with African countries have not received proper attention in our foreign policy for years and we have lost a lot” he said hinting the neutrality position of African countries in the ongoing conflict was a result of it.
He said Ukraine wants to have a better relationship with African nations and Kiev is working tirelessly to achieve that goal.
“Today, Ukraine is reinvigorating its foreign policy towards Africa aimed at a Ukrainian-African renaissance”
According to the Ukrainian minister, Kiev has recently adopted its first African strategy and has intensified its political dialogue with many countries on the continent.
“This year, we are going to establish new embassies in different parts of the continent and plan to hold the first Ukraine-Africa Summit” Kuleba announced.
“We want to develop a new quality of partnership based on three mutual principles: mutual respect, mutual interests, and mutual benefits”
Kuleba who is in Africa tour has also held separate talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the chairman of the Commission of the African Union Moussa Faki and the president of the Comoros Azali Assoumani, interim president of the African Union.
(The East African Daily)